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The IV International Conference on Tangible and Intangible Impact of Information and Communication in the Digital Age took place on 7-9 June 2022 in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russian Federation, within the XIII International IT Forum and the UNESCO Information for All Intergovernmental Programme.

 

The event was organised by the Russian UNESCO IFAP Committee, Interregional Library Cooperation Centre, Government of the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Area – Ugra with the support of the Russian Ministry of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Media, Permanent Delegation of the Russian Federation to UNESCO and Commission of the Russian Federation for UNESCO. The conference gathered over 100 experts from 46 countries – representatives of intergovernmental, international, regional and national non-governmental organisations, universities and research centres, government authorities and institutions in the field of information and communication, science, culture and education, including prominent Russian and foreign experts in the field of philosophy, cultural anthropology, sociology, political science, psychology, linguistics, management, international relations, communication, information technology, information security, teacher training, librarianship, museum and archiving, creative industries, diplomats, journalists.

 

The conference was aimed to contribute to the advancement of international and national policies in the field of information and knowledge society building and relevant recommendations; to reducing the gap between the pace of development in the field of information, communication and related technologies, and the ability of science and society to comprehend the changing reality and, accordingly, to influence the vector and nature of progress.

 

The key goal was to propel the discussions and recommendations of the three previous international conferences on that topic to a new level reviewing the following phenomena and problems in the context of new geopolitical realities:

  • global, regional and local socio-cultural transformations fuelled by the persistent changes in the field of information and communication, development of artificial intelligence and machine learning, embedded systems and devices, the Internet of Things, augmented and virtual reality, big data analytics and cloud computing, blockchain, etc.
  • the impact of changes in the field of information and communication on the functioning of states and societies, pivotal infrastructure assets, public institutions, on the social structure and stratification, on individuals and specific communities, on the structure and nature of employment, on public consciousness and other structural and functional characteristics of modern societies
  • socio-cultural and political consequences of information oversupply, devaluation and discreditation of professional media, replacement of traditional cultural regulators of public relations and processes by automated “social algorithms”, blurring the boundaries between the real and the digital world, wide spread of simplified virtual mockups and simulacra, introduction of tools for shaping “post-reality” to political and media culture
  • striking a balance between freedom of expression in the digital environment and information and psychological security

The conference open gala in the Ugra Exhibiton and Congress Centre was chaired by Evgeny KUZMIN, Vice-Chair of the IFAP Intergovernmental Council & UNESCO/IFAP Working Group on Multilingualism in Cyberspace, Chair of the Russian UNESCO/IFAP Committee, President of the Interregional Library Cooperation Centre (ILCC). Conference participants were greeted by:

  • Natalia KOMAROVA, Governor of the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Area – Ugra
  • Dorothy GORDON, Chair of the UNESCO IFAP Intergovernmental Council & UNESCO/IFAP Working Group for Media and Information Literacy, Board Member of the UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education (Ghana)
  • Konstantin EMELIN, First Secretary of the Secretariat of the Commission of the Russian Federation for UNESCO, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation
  • Mohamed YONGAWO,Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Sierra Leone to the Russian Federation
  • Johanna Rose MAMIAKA, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Gabonese Republic to the Russian Federation
  • Aniset Gabriel KOTCHOFA, ex-Ambassador of the Republic of Benin to the Russian Federation, High Commissioner for International Relations, Deputy Secretary General, Eurasian Economic Cooperation Organisation.

Natalya KOMAROVA thanked Evgeny KUZMIN and the whole UNESCO team led by Dorothy GORDON for trusting Ugra in organising and holding a such a high-level event. “We see ourselves not only as organisers, but also as stakeholders benefitting from the ideas you propose on the sidelines of the conference. I am absolutely sure that we should not stop our joint efforts to explore processes and phenomena based on an integrated interdisciplinary approach,” the Governor noted.

 

Evgeny KUZMIN emphasized the interdisciplinary nature of the conference gathering politicians, diplomats and scientists working in various fields and allowing them to look at the subject of their study from new unexpected angles. He also noted that the previous three conferences under the same name resulted in organising a number of professional communities around the world for a deep and comprehensive consideration of the challenges of artificial intelligence use, information ethics, information accessibility, media and information literacy and other issues that are IFAP priorities.

 

Mohammed YONGAWO, in turn, highlighted the importance of education in the face of digital chaos: “The context of information and the way citizens perceive the digital revolution are especially important. Since November 16, 1945, UNESCO has been tasked with achieving peace and education through communication. The more active UNESCO is, the more effectively people cooperate with each other and the more educated we are getting.”

 

Johanna Rose MAMIAKA noted that UNESCO's activities and information technologies helped to bring education, science and culture to the most remote corners of the world: “We must teach our children in the way we see fit, setting reasonable barriers and restrictions. That iss what freedom is about.”

 

Anicet Gabriel KOTCHOFA mentioned that the Ugra conference had been gaining momentum, its geographic coverage was expanding, the number of participants and the level of debates were increasing. Speaking about the new challenges of the digital age, ex-Ambassador focused on the need to control information: “The main task of our conference is to accept the challenges that we are facing. Information for everyone is good. However, we have a great responsibility for controlling the information that comes to our children. May quality information flourish to make people happy!”

 

The conference was held in a hybrid (online/offline) format and included a number of plenary sessions on specific topics:

  • ICT and New Information Environment: Explicit and Implicit Actors, Goals and Interests
  • Digital Civilization: Building New Ethics, Identity, Competency
  • Digital Civilization: Info-Conceptual and Socio-Technological Dimensions
  • Man and the New Information Environment: Challenges of Comprehension and Adaptation
  • Malicious Use of Artificial Intelligence and Threats for Information and Psychological Security
  • ICT in Various Sectors: Trends and Challenges
  • ICT in Politics and Culture
  • Access to Information, Education and Human Capacity Building: Challenges and Solutions

 

The conference also contributed to the International Decade of the World’s Indigenous Languages by holding a special session on Multilingualism in the Digital World: Present and Future

 

Plenary sessions were moderated by:

  • Evgeny KUZMIN (Russian Federation)
  • Dorothy GORDON (Ghana)
  • Prabhakar Rao JANDHYALA, Professor, Director, India Centre of Excellence in Information Ethics & Head, Centre for Study of Foreign Languages, University of Hyderabad (India)
  • Pierre-Emmanuel THOMANN, President, Eurocontinent; Lecturer, University Jean Moulin, Lyon III, France (France)
  • Siva Prasad RAMBHATLA, Honorary Professor, University of Hyderabad (India)
  • Anuradha KANNIGANTI, Researcher, International Foundation for Human Development, Hyderabad (India)
  • Evgeny PASHENTSEV, Professor, Leading Researcher, Institute of International Contemporary Studies, Diplomatic Academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation; Coordinator, International Research Group on Threats for International Psychological Security by Malicious Use of Artificial Intelligence (Russian Federation)
  • Vladimir BEBEKH, Director, Astra Media Professional Communications Agency; Publisher, Head, MK-Ugra & MK in Tyumen projects (Russian Federation)
  • Anastasia PARSHAKOVA, Deputy Director, Interregional Library Cooperation Centre; Project Coordinator, Russian Committee of the UNESCO Information for All Programme (Russian Federation)

 

Evgeny KUZMIN (Russian Federation), Dorothy GORDON (Ghana) and Alexei ZABOZLAEV, Deputy Governor of the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Area – Ugra (Russian Federation) summed up the conference work at the closing plenary.

 

 


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